If Seattle gets an NHL team...

Discussion in 'WHL' started by VictoriaJetsFan, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. VictoriaJetsFan

    VictoriaJetsFan Registered User

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    How does this affect the Thunderbirds and Silvertips?

    Can both continue status quo?

    I know they are at opposite ends of the city but how oversaturated can this market get before someone starts to get seriously hurt?
     
  2. DudeWhereIsMakar

    DudeWhereIsMakar Originator of the username

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    One will most likely stay, but possibly both stay where they currently are.

    The one most likely to move would probably be the Thunderbirds, but they could potentially stay in the Seattle area or they will move elsewhere. But I personally believe they'll stay five years for sure after Seattle gets an NHL team.
     
  3. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Portland. So there.
    There's a model here. The Mariners have their AAA team in Tacoma and Short-Season A affiliate in Everett. It enhances the Mariners love in an area where the Mariners have pretty much sucked for years.

    I'm also looking at recent attendance trends. Everett's arena is too big for the Silvertips. I am damn sure, in the meantime, that the AHL covets that arena, and being the Seattle NHL affiliate might play better there than the perpetually, shall we say, defense-minded Silvertips.

    I think the following: when Vancouver pulls their affiliation with Utica and goes west, if it's indeed Abbotsford, it's really silly not to move the AHL into Everett. The only way I'd think differently is if the Canucks end up in California instead... and why do that?

    That alone shouldn't destabilize the US WHL teams. I just suspect the Thunderbirds will take a hit, and they can't afford one. That doesn't necessarily mean I think the ECHL is destined for Kent, BTW. However, I can't help but believe this- plus the class action situation- doesn't help the US teams. Could there be a divorce? Hard to say. There's some possible workarounds. I really think it's 50-50 over 10 years that the current US Division will continue to exist.
     
  4. VictoriaJetsFan

    VictoriaJetsFan Registered User

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    Great feedback here...painful but very likely accurate.

    I have seen the Tips play twice and that arena is wonderful. It is just great.

    But sadly, too big for the Tips but ideal for the AHL. It makes perfect sense.

    So the Tips move somewhere then. The Thunderbirds could not compete with the NHL so close I would think. I mean maybe, but unlikely.

    Where would Seattle go?

    Tacoma?

    Salem Oregon?

    Nanaimo?

    or contracted?

    The WHL is probably too big as it is.

    I am not familiar with the class action suit, could you provide further explanation?
     
  5. tank44

    tank44 Registered User

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    the 2 WHL teams are far enough away from Seattle that they could both survive. Thunderbirds are in the SE subrub of Kent and not much dfifferent than being in Tacoma. The Silvertips do well as well and are much more lower key but have great support in the Snohomish county area (N of Seattle). Both WHL teams are in fairly blue-collar areas and at a good price point for the area. Everett to AHL could make sense as well.

    If either or both need to move, as discussed in many threads, there aren't many other US locations that could work for WHL. Wenatchee has BCHL and could move up. Boise is likely too far away.
     
  6. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Location:
    Portland. So there.
    I don't think they'd both survive. Mostly, this is because Seattle will be looking for an AHL location, it won't be Portland, it really won't be California, and with Vancouver biding their time before ending their Utica affiliation, I think an Abbotsford/Everett AHL pair is about right. That's one way of saying that, while both clubs draw about average, it's not enough to head off what's going to happen when the NHL "graces Seattle with their presence." The baseball model (Tacoma is AAA, Everett is Short-A, both affiliated with the Mariners) is a key precedent.

    Unless the WHL scrambles to find owners who want to build their own American arenas, I think, no more than 20 years down the road, it's the end of the US Division in the league. I do tend to think the following is possible, however:

    Maybe Nanaimo happens, but probably not.

    The league liberalizes territory rules just a bit... so that Surrey and Langley can co-exist. Perhaps even a third club in the area?

    Too much ego to allow a folding. Spokane could well be a long-term holdout, too... the oddball thing being the rivalry with Kootenay.
     
  7. DougMellon

    DougMellon Registered User

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    Out of curiosity, what makes you think they won't move up an ECHL team to the AHL without relocation?
     
  8. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Portland. So there.
    I know, technically, ECHL teams don't promote. All I'd be saying, IF I ACTUALLY SAID THAT, the way the western migration has happened, it may as well have played like that. Where there's a will (and more money), there's a way.
     
  9. DougMellon

    DougMellon Registered User

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    Thanks for the response, seem like you have a lot of valuable thoughts on the process.

    Reason I was wondering is I was speaking with a member of the AHL earlier last week where I got the impression it wasn't out of the question but would require ECHL participation (also, that there is no timeline set on any decision by the AHL at this point). When I spoke with Rich Bello of the ECHL he emphasized that it was early to be discussing.

    Norfolk just recently lost their affiliations with the Preds and are struggling both financially and with attendance. I know they already lost a franchise to the AHL but thought it was an interesting discussion.

    Thanks for the discussion.
     
  10. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Location:
    Portland. So there.
    So Seattle gets an NHL team. I think a couple other factors have changed this a little bit.

    We're still waiting on the CHL lawsuit. I think there's some interesting possibilities with that. But something has to manifest itself. Meanwhile, the State of Washington is protecting "amateurism" for their WHL teams because the arena cities begged that to happen, while Oregon has gone the other direction and put the Winterhawks into serious question. None of that may matter if the players win. (

    The thing I would think to see "manifest itself" involves a compromise between parties that incorporates a proposal made by the Kamloops owner a couple years ago... an 18-and-under league doesn't pay players and finds a way to preserve college status while keeping the best players of that age, and a true pro-prep league for older players with actual pay takes hold in the larger markets (which include places like Kelowna and Victoria).

    Since Seattle NHL doesn't start until 2021-22, there might be some time to sort this out with some sort of logical flow. 2020-21 would have been more "interesting," aka unstable.
     
  11. Scouter

    Scouter Registered User

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    I don't see an issue here, there are a few NHL/WHL cities already, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
     
  12. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Location:
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    All of whom are Canadian and have an ingrained history.

    Seattle loves its Seahawks, considers itself a basketball town, and there's enough people left over willing to pay thousands to buy into hockey that it has become an obvious NHL market. Thing is, if Seattle isn't the parent club to a local minor league team (Tacoma and Everett baseball), that team tends not to last long. The Thunderbirds had the Breakers die before the Thunderbirds arrived. The T-Birds had their flirtations with Victoria before Kent proposed their arena. I'm warning that this is not a rising tide that lifts all boats. Puget Sound is known for an occasional red tide, after all.
     
  13. McChucky

    McChucky The Golden Ticket

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  14. spokam

    spokam Registered User

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    Maybe moving back to Edmonton west???
     
  15. Rocko604

    Rocko604 Bring on the Jerks

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    I think given the distance between Everett and Kent, both the Tips and T-Birds should be okay, even with the NHL presence.

    FWIW, the Canucks re-upped with Utica so they're not moving to Abbotsford any time soon. I would also suspect Salt Lake City or Fresno getting a look at an AHL relocation before Everett, now that Colorado is in the Pacific.
     
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  16. VictoriaJetsFan

    VictoriaJetsFan Registered User

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    If the Kooteney Ice move to Winnipeg...could Cranbrook ever get a second try?
     
  17. tank44

    tank44 Registered User

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    Canucks re-upped with Uitca but I think it'll only be for 2-3 years and then Vancouver & Seattle will bring 2 AHL teams to the PNW together.

    The US Division may be in flux in the next 5 years...
    *Portland is a marquee market for WHL but ongoing legal issues with WHL wages, etc may push them out of town/state. A simple move to Vancouver WA may be possible but there's no ice rink there (latest one is now a church).
    *Seattle metro's 2 teams are TBD if both will survive with NHL in town (IMO liklely survive), but maybe a bigger threat if AHL takes over one of the sites.
    *Tri-cities seems to be on-again/off-again whether they will survive or cease operations.
    *Spokane is likely the strongest of the US division teams to stay put but also could be Seattle AHL option.
    *Wenatchee (metro pop ~116K) could likely be a viable WHL city for relocation in the US but not many other candidate cities within the current footprint.
    Other unlikely US cities: *Eugene (OR issues), Boise (still far from TriCities), Missoula (far from Spokane and very far from other cities), Billings (too far from anywhere), Bellingham (too close to Everett & Vancouver/Langley/Abbotsford)
     
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  18. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    The time Boise tried to buy into the WHL, one of the things they were eventually told is that they needed to be a 4-hour drive from the next nearest market. That may have been an excuse rather than policy for all we know, but I do know Portland and Seattle didn't want Boise because there are risks going over the Blue Mountains on I-84 in the winter that you don't usually face over Snoqualmie or even the Columbia Gorge. Thing is, if you remove Portland from the equation, that might curtail some opposition... but there's still not a suitable linking city to the north if you don't trust TCA to survive.

    An alternate solution to the CHL "amateur situation" is a wildcard here, and I wouldn't count that possibility out yet.

    I'm one who doesn't think both Everett and Kent will survive with NHL in the market. Stranger things have happened, of course.

    One of the places that the Winterhawks looked at the last time they were nearly chased out of Memorial Coliseum was the Clark County Events Center, which I think is on the fairgrounds, a bit north of Vancouver USA (known amongst Portlanders as Vantucky FWIW), would certainly require seating and upgrades, but could fit 5,000 with the right incentives. Not that it's the way to bet.
     
  19. Rocko604

    Rocko604 Bring on the Jerks

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    The deal with Utica is "up to" 6 years so obviously there's an outclause somewhere. That being said, it's been long rumoured that Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini wants to buy the Abbotsford Centre before bringing the AHL team but the city isn't willing to sell. He could of course play the team out of Rogers Arena but would lose a large chunk of concert and event revenue.

    Also, expect it to get very messy if the AHL tries to supplant a WHL team from their arena.
     
  20. FacepalmBenning

    FacepalmBenning Praise Glorious Leader Jim Benning

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    I envision the Thunderbirds exploding into one of the most valuable franchises in the league once the NHL comes to town. The Thunderbirds actually play about 30 minutes south of Seattle in a suburb called Kent. They have a beautiful arena with a pretty devoted fan base. And they just got hockey guys as owners back in 2017 who have been night and day from the Thunderbirds previous owners. Really can't see them going anywhere since they're the central piece of Kent's arena and the downtown business area there.

    The other huge positive is the Thunderbirds are a tremendously fun local experience as well as having rich history. Also the cheapest tickets are $18 which will be $100+ less than the cheapest NHL tickets and there isn't a bad seat in the Thunderbirds' arena.

    I think the Silvertips will be okay since Everett is a different town entirely from Seattle and is a heavily Navy town. I'm not sure their arena is too big for them but the idea of an AHL team in there is interesting.

    Why would the Canucks want to end their Utica affiliation? This is the first I've heard of this.

    I think it will be an extremely positive thing like the Canucks and Giants co-existing in Vancouver. I hope the NHL Seattle team will raise the love of the game at all levels.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  21. Interior Cascadian

    Interior Cascadian Registered User

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    Having your farm team so close allows the team to make an emergency call up possible the day of an injury. If you have a little time, google "Chris Levesque Vancouver Canucks". It's not a one-off either... these things actually happen from time to time
     
  22. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Location:
    Portland. So there.
    Meanwhile, what Seattle is saying right now is that they're not going to try to uproot the Thunderbirds or Silvertips.

    Fair enough. I'm expecting we'll revisit the issue with one of these teams about 5 years after the first Metrokrakenfoot face off.

    Meanwhile, as Boise may or may not take to having the Steelheads supplanted and Palm Springs seems like an idea in search of a facility for which PS may not understand the requirements... keep watch on the bigger Portland. Of course, that requires Canadian courts to actually make a decision on the CHL class action lawsuits, and it has to diverge from the state of Oregon's stand against granting an exemption to minimum wage laws for the Winterhawks. So watch, just don't hold your breath.
     
  23. Bondurant

    Bondurant Registered User

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    Minor hockey has been a draw in metro Seattle since '77. Once the NHL officially open shop in Seattle it will be great if the Thunderbirds can remain viable in the WHL.
     

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